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Opportunity charging first for UK buses

The charging points will enable eight Transdev Blazefield electric Volvo buses to operate all day without interruption

Buses can be charged while they wait at terminal bus stops Picture courtesy: Transdev Blazefield
Buses can be charged while they wait at terminal bus stops Picture courtesy: Transdev Blazefield

ABB has won a contract to supply an electric bus charging infrastructure for a fleet of Volvo electric buses that will be operated in the UK by Transdev Blazefield from 2018.


ABB will supply three HVC 300P charging stations and an electricity substation for installation at a bus station serving the historic UK spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire.

The contract is significant as it is the first electric bus project in the UK that will use OppCharge for ‘opportunity charging’, where buses are charged while they wait at the terminal bus stops, which are equipped with fast-charging infrastructure at each end of the bus line.

“The fast chargers from ABB will play an important role in Transdev’s long-term vision for Harrogate to become a low-emission bus town that adopts world-class electric bus technology,” said Alex Hornby CEO of Transdev Blazefield. “Ultimately, the vision is about reducing congestion, improving freedom of movement and creating a better environment across Harrogate and beyond.”

According to ABB, charging will take only three to six minutes, eliminating the need to wait for long charging periods. The innovation is the latest technology that Transdev Blazefield has introduced to reduce emissions and improve other aspects of bus travel.


As well as enabling zero emission public transport, opportunity charging allows the size of batteries on board the electric buses to be reduced. This reduces the overall weight of the buses and therefore improves energy efficiency of the bus network.

Daan Nap, global sales director of electric bus charging at ABB, said: “This contract builds on our recent successes in other countries and introduces the OppCharge interface in the UK, a development that will help to further accelerate the uptake of electric buses by allowing the same charging equipment to be used by different brands of buses.”

The buses will connect automatically to ABB’s HVC 300P chargers, which feature an overhead charging mast that charges via the buses’ on-board pantographs. A key advantage is that the HVC 300P units are compatible with the OppCharge interface, so will be compatible with other brands and models of electric buses that use opportunity charging.

Because ABB has developed its fast-charging technology in partnership with leading vehicle manufacturers, it has been designed to meet future requirements for electric vehicles. This represents good value for money for operators as charging infrastructure will be flexible as their fleets evolve.

The project is the latest in ABB’s history of UK firsts for electric bus charging, which includes supply of the charging infrastructure for the first full electric buses in Coventry in 2011.


Earlier this month, ABB electric vehicle charging technology was installed for the City of Edinburgh Council at two strategic points on Scotland’s road network.


Two ABB Terra 53 CJG multi standard rapid chargers rated at 50 kW and a 22 kW AC (alternating current) charge point supplied by ICU have been installed at South Queensferry and Ingliston as an extension of the nationwide ChargePlace Scotland network of electric vehicle charge points.


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